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Page last updated at 22:01 GMT, Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Williams takes top Welsh awards

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Williams welcomes award honour

Swansea City defender Ashley Williams has been named Wales Footballer of the Year and Clubman of the Year at a star-studded FA of Wales dinner in Cardiff.

Williams, 25, was ever present for the Swans in their first season back in the Championship last year and played in 10 of Wales' 11 matches.

Arsenal teenager Aaron Ramsey picked up the Young Player of the Year accolade.

Former Wales goalkeepers Ken Jones and Gary Sprake received long service awards at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Williams was playing non-league football at Hednesford six years ago, having been rejected by West Brom at 16, and he worked as a waiter and at Drayton Manor theme park in the Midlands while playing part-time football.

After joining Stockport County and becoming their captain, he earned his first Wales call in March 2008 and within 24 hours of playing in the 2-0 in Luxembourg he joined Swansea on loan.

He went on to play his part as the Swans won the League One title before making his move permanent for a then club-record fee of £400,00 and last season featured in every Championship match.

His clubman award comes for his contribution to Swansea's impressive campaign under Roberto Martinez, finishing just outside the play-offs.

Under new manager Paulo Sousa, Williams has continued to form the back-bone of Swansea's defence this season and also has two goals.

"Ash in my opinion is one of the players who has developed a lot, but he is also someone who can go a lot further," said Sousa.

"He is one of the players who can reach the Premier League."

Williams, who was born in Tamworth but has a Welsh grandfather, has made 17 appearances for his country, missing just one game since making his debut.

Williams follows the likes of Ryan Giggs, Mark Hughes, John Hartson, Neville Southall and Craig Bellamy who have won the top award. Simon Davies won it last year.

"Things have moved very quickly for me, and I am a little shocked," he said.

"It is an honour to win such an award when you think exactly who has won it in the past."

Arsenal youngster Ramsey has made great strides since his £5m move from Cardiff City in the summer of 2008.

The Caerphilly-born 18-year-old midfielder made 22 appearances for the Gunners last season including appearances in the Premier League and Champions League where he scored his only goal of the campaign.

Ramsey won his first Wales senior cap last season in the friendly win over Denmark and has gone on to pick up a further nine caps.

Jones, 73, who received a long service award, was part of the Wales squad that took part in the 1958 World Cup in Sweden.

The former goalkeeper played for Cardiff City, Scunthorpe United, Charlton Athletic, Exeter City and Yeovil Town.

Swansea-born Sprake, 64, won 37 caps for Wales and was captain, and played for Leeds United and Birmingham City.



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see also
Williams signs new Swans contract
07 Oct 09 |  Swansea
Williams backed for Premier move
05 Aug 09 |  Swansea
Swans complete Williams signing
22 May 08 |  Swansea
Swans sign Stockport's Williams
27 Mar 08 |  Swansea
Luxembourg 0-2 Wales
26 Mar 08 |  Internationals
Welsh clubs in hunt for Williams
25 Mar 08 |  Welsh
Ramsey to fight for Gunners goal
30 Oct 09 |  Arsenal
Ramsey completes Arsenal switch
13 Jun 08 |  Arsenal
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales


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